Groomsman Kirk Henning (front, center) danced with eight groomsmen for his bride Valerie Tellmann (sitting). (Photo courtesy of Mike Topham)
When ballerina Valerie Tellmann married her dancer fiancé, Kirk Henning (both with the Richmond Ballet), she had no idea what he had secretly planned for her: A nearly 8-minute dance routine, which he choreographed himself. Henning and his eight groomsmen moved in synchronicity to songs such as Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” and Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando.”
“It was just so surprising and genuine and such a special treat for him to pull that dance off for me,” Valerie says. The dance was captured by videographer Ginger Topham, who posted it on YouTube; it went viral with more than 6.5 million views. It was even featured on Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight and The Huffington Post website.
The dance, which Kirk started planning four months in advance of the big day, featured friends who were professional dancers, but also the bride and groom’s brothers. “I honestly was not going to do [the dance] because I was very busy … but I knew that she was working very hard and I wanted to do it for her,” Kirk says. The reception on July 25, 2015 was held on the stage of the Carpenter Theatre — where the two fell in love. “It was a special moment in our lives,” says Valerie.
Web Extra: Watch Henning's famous dance proposal at richmondmag.com/surprisedance.